Almost every day is the perfect day for surfing in Popoyo. With over 300 days a year of offshore winds, this little Nicaraguan town is surprisingly quiet given its reputation for having some of Central America's most reliable breaks. But that's all the better for travellers seeking a peaceful adventure. It's the best of both worlds: a destination with an undiscovered feel with places to grab a beer and strike up a conversation as the night draws in. The barely populated wild beaches make for tranquil evening strolls, with dark skies for stargazing.
Popoyo hostels include an eco-friendly beachfront retreat made from local materials, a building set in 90 acres of land just 17 steps from the shore or a laid-back surf camp with a restaurant. Some hostels in Popoyo have their own on-site bars where you can chat with fellow travellers long into the night, and there are places with pools in case you fancy a day away from the ocean. A Popoyo hostel with parking is handy if you're renting a car and free Wi-Fi makes it easy to update friends and family.
Part of Popoyo's charm is in its remoteness, far from anywhere you might consider to be a big city. Other towns up and down the coast, like El Astillero, are similarly quiet and laid-back. Playa Guasacate is the main hub of the town, where you'll see surfers from morning till night. If you're in the party mood, an evening in the lively city of Rivas is an hour's drive away.
Whether you're a first timer or have years of experience on a board, you'll find exciting surfing in Popoyo. There are 16 world-class breaks, which can be accessed either on foot or by boat. They include the big swells of Popoyo itself, the up to 500m rides of Lance's Left and Playgrounds, which is fun for surfers of all skill levels. There are plenty of surf schools too. Away from the waves, you can find sea turtles, armadillos, little spotted cats and howler monkeys amid the thick jungle of Chacocente Wildlife Refuge.
Costa Esmeralda Airport is the closest and flights arrive from other Nicaraguan cites and Costa Rica every day. It's a 30-minute taxi ride to Popoyo. If you're starting in Rivas, you can rent a car or take the local 'chicken bus', which runs twice a day, towards El Astillero and get off at Guasacate, then either walk or get a taxi from there. Popoyo is small enough to navigate on foot.